One of the easiest ways to support conservation is to only
use sustainable palm oil.
Palm oil is an economically important product for much of
Southeast Asia. It has one of the highest yields per acre of
any oil crop and is used in many different foods and
personal hygiene products, like ice cream, chocolate, soap,
and shampoos. Plantations employ thousands of people
and many are directly or indirectly dependent on palm oil
for their livelihoods.
However, these benefits come at a cost. The expansion of plantations often requires companies to clear
large section of rainforest, which displaces animals and fragments populations of endangered species.
Furthermore, some plantations do not monitor their workers' activities, which may allow poachers free
access to populations of rare and endangered animals.
So, while palm oil is an indispensable product and reliable cash crop, responsible management is very
important and should be widely encouraged. The Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil is a group of
people, nonprofits, and companies who have pledged to use only responsible, sustainable oils that do
not harm the environment or people.
Read the ingredients list on your products and look for the RSPO logo in
order to find items with sustainable palm oil. You can also find a list of US
companies that are part of the RSPO here with links
to other countries' companies; all their products use or will soon use
sustainable palm oil. You can also check out the Point Defiance Zoo &
Aquarium's palm oil page for more
information and sustainable palm oil shopping guides.
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